Monday, July 23, 2012

Got some exploring to do..

This is the voice of Consuelo now, the other sailor aboard Traveler. Guido has convinced me to participate in our blog, so this will be my first entry of many to come.
Adventure Diva!
For over 30 years I’ve lived in this spectacular place, raised my kids here, studied music, theater and dance, met my dearest friends and learned the trades of retail grocery and cheese mongering. Leaving my community and its beautiful setting in the Pacific Northwest has become one of the hardest things for me to do. We will be living on the water for years to come, and I have a desire to see a few more wild places here on land before we go. Where though and to what extreme? I imagine a drive to the trail head with dinner on the road Friday night, set up camp and wake to an early start. Make our ascent, set up camp for the night then return the next day. Easy, right?

After serious consideration we decide on a day hike up Mt. Pilchuck; it’s six miles round trip, only a 2K’ ascent and we won’t have to sleep in a tent. It’s been years since either of us has hiked and the voice of reason wins the debate. For being a grounded earth sign, characterized as making calculated, well thought out decisions, the crazy adventure diva is all too willing to jump into the abyss. Whereas my much more practical and somewhat uncharacteristic fire sign fiancĂ© knows how to talk me down from the edge.
View of Three Fingers

It’s a hot day, one of the first of the summer. At the Verlot ranger station they ask if we’re prepared for snow. We have sturdy boots and extra layers. So, off we go! The little Honda climbs to the trail head and we take in the view: Mt. Baker, Three Fingers, Mt. Index, and Mt. Rainier.

Snow in July
Water, check, snacks, check, sandwiches, check, moleskin, check, hat, check, sunglasses, check, sunscreen, check…It didn’t take long to find snow! and the squeals of younger hikers sliding down on their returns, some with tennis shoes, some in sandals and all with wet bottoms. Onward and upward, photo ops-a-plenty, the final 100 yards straight up, sort of, chipping footholds in the snow, we get a grip and declare these rocks the summit and toast success with our well-deserved micro brew favorites. There’s never a better moment in a hike when one can finally liberate the toes from hot and heavy boots, eat tuna sandwiches while sitting in the crook of a rock shaded by scrubby trees on the mountainside…

Refreshed and ready for our descent we pack up and go. There is some slipping and sliding taking it all in long strides. Fortunately our return is not nearly as hot or sweaty as our ascent. We are running low on water and feeling the limitations of our middle-age. In other words, we got our butts kicked and I’m glad Scott talked me out of my initial, more challenging quest. At the end of the day we remain a happy couple and the test of our first hike proves this relationship will survive our ambitions for adventure!

Ah, The Summit!

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